Posted on: April 21, 2011 3:04 pm

Kings' relocation train grinding to a halt?

League has serious reservations about Maloofs' relocation plan to Anaheim as relocation committee visits Sacramento to test Mayor Kevin Johnson's claims regarding market viability. Do the Kings stay?
Posted by Matt Moore

You'll have to forgive us for having jumped too early. It's just, it wasn't supposed to go like this. As in, it never goes like this. An NBA owner manages to avoid their small market poneying up for a new arena, and the door's supposed to magically swing open to relocation. After all, how can the owners vote against one of their brethren, knowing that if they are a large-market owner, continued strength in those areas is best for them, and if they are a small-market owner they would be setting a precedent to vote against their own bid later? Despite the bickering between franchises that goes on daily in the NBA, the owners stick together, right? 

Yeah, not so much, looks like. 

Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated has the Sacramento beat down as well as anyone and he reports this week that momentum on that midnight train to Disney Land has hit some major breaks, thanks to questions from the NBA Board of Governors that have left the Maloofs facing a pretty depressing future: a possible, maybe probable return to Sacramento. 
The next two days are pivotal. Johnson will host relocation committee chairman and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett and league counsel Harvey Benjamin in Sacramento and attempt to prove the case the mayor made so strongly at the NBAs Board of Governors meetings last week: that his city remains a viable market. On the other bench, sources say the Anaheim presentation given at the meetings was as ineffective as Johnsons was impactful, and there is serious doubt as to whether there will be enough support to warrant the Maloofs filing for relocation a majority vote is needed to approve a move when a team files.
via Strong indications Kings may be in Sacramento next year - Sam Amick - SI.com.

The big issue here? TV money, the golden calf of NBA financing. As opposed to NFL television rights, which are collective and shared throughout the league, each NBA team gets to negotiate its own TV deals. Which is why some teams, like the Lakers, are due for $5 billion over 25 years, and some teams make less than they're paying their third best player, like the Bobcats. The Kings' relocation to the lucrative SoCal market was supposed to suckle at that market that ensures the Lakers profit ridiculous amounts by winning and the Clippers make great money even by being the freaking Clippers. Instead, Amick reports a $20 million deal is all they have acquired in the Anaheim relocation package, through a minor network through a relationship with Samueli, the mastermind behind the bid to send the Kings to his Anaheim arena. $20 million is the league average, so the ownership was pretty much "eh" when faced with that number. 

Are these just concerns? Is there any real momentum to the move? This paragraph from Amick should read as a punch in the face of the Maloofs. 
There were internal signs that the league is taking Sacramento seriously this week. Two sources said an NBA representative called on Monday to advise the Kings' business team to prepare the season-ticket packages and corporate sponsorship plans that had been on hold since rumors of the move were legitimized in February. Team employees had been in a holding pattern for months, but they were told to be ready to deliver the goods to their customers in the coming weeks should a happy ending be on the horizon. There was similar movement in other areas of the organization, with the notion of a Kings return suddenly seeming somewhere between possible and probable.
So the league has advised the organization to start selling tickets in advance of a move against the wishes of ownership. Pardon us while we "LOL" for a little bit. 

The Maloofs thought this was going to be easy. They may get their way, get their Los Angeles Royals of Anaheim. But the city's not going down without a fight, and in this last round, it's Mayor Kevin Johnson who's landed all the punches. 
Posted on: April 15, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: April 15, 2011 5:16 pm

Board of Governors extends Sacramento deadline

Posted by Matt Moore and Ben Golliver

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported today and NBA commissioner David Stern later confirmed that the NBA Board of Governor's has extended the deadline for the Maloof brothers to apply for relocation of the Kings to Anaheim. In a Friday afternoon conference call, Stern said the deadline had been extended to May 2 http://twitter.com/daldridgetnt/sta

The Board heard presentations from both the Maloofs regarding relocation and a group from Sacramento featuring Mayor Kevin Johnson regarding the Kings staying in Sacramento. The Sacramento contingent brought information about inducements that were available for the team to stay, and Stern said that there was enough to support further investigation from the NBA BOG's relocation committee. 

Get this: the head of the relocation committee? Clay Bennett. You know, Thunder owner/Sonics mover Clay Bennett. Whoops. That's not going to go over well in the press. 

Stern stressed that the extension was based off a  need to undestand the complexity of both proposals, but specifically the presentation from the Mayor's office. Stern did say that Ron Burkle's public comments regarding a desire to purchase the Kings from the Maloofs, or another team to relocate to Sacramento was "not a high priority" for the board

Stern also commented that he believes the Southern California/LA/Anaheim market can sustain three teams. 
Posted on: April 14, 2011 2:53 am

Kings announcers tear up during farewell

Posted by Matt Moore

It's over. 

In a game that fairly well mimics the realities of the NBA economic model in 2011, the Sacramento Kings made a last charge behind a raucous crowd at Arco Arena. They thought they had it, they thought they were safe. 

Then the large market team swept it all away in a game they never really should have needed in the first place. 

The Kings played what is likely their last game in Arco Arena, losing to the Lakers in overtime. The Lakers will likely go on to win the NBA title, because that's what they do. And the small-market Kings will likely head to Anaheim, and try to suckle at the teat of the L.A. market while Kings fans deal with the pain of losing something that's been a part of their families and communities for over two decades, because that's what they do. 

As fans of the team stayed behind in a movement called "Here We Sit" in a sit-in, Kings announcers Jerry Reynolds and Grant Napear signed off on what was likely the last telecast from Arco Arena. Get out your hankeys. It's getting dusty in here. 

The NBA Board of Governors is set to vote on the expected Kings' request for relocation on Friday.

Joe and Gavin Maloof were not in attendance Wednesday night. It was rumored they gave their seats to Lakers fans. I wish I was kidding.
Posted on: April 13, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 6:26 pm

Here They Stay.

As the Kings get set to play what is likely the last pro basketball game in Sacramento, California, the NBA Board of Governor's needs to think long and hard about what it wants its legacy to be. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Somewhere in the old and tired seats of Arco Arena, a kid's going to watch his last NBA game as a Kings fan.

Yes, we're going there. I'm not pulling out the emotional tale to rattle your bones or just to make my point. I'm pulling the kiddo card because in these instances, we look at these events through the eyes of "business" despite most of us not being multi-billion dollar titans of industry. We like to analyze these things from afar under the guise of perspective, but in reality, it's to avoid sentimentality. Which to be honest, in this context, is a little absurd. Sports is sentimentality. It's entirely sentimental. It's about feeling, it's about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat and the anxiousness of playoff hopes and sometimes, just sometimes, the sheer joy of a championship. Okay, that's mostly just Lakers and Celtics fans, but you get my point. 

It is not about what the Kings faithful will experience tonight. That kid's going to have to watch as his team walks out on him, as it's ripped away from him because the market politics of the NBA have created this culture. You want a pragmatic reason to avoid this? That kid will grow up having turned his back on the NBA for turning its back on him. That's a fanbase, lost to the league, who won't know what makes the game great, because they'll be too spurned to enjoy it. You can't watch your team in someone else's backyard. Not like this. After the league has issued statements and weathered the PR storm and we in the media have found something else to freak out about, those fans will still be there, trying to understand what happened to their team.
For original season ticket holders such as Lindow, emotional – and financial – ties to the team run deep. So, apparently, does the hurt.

Before he died, Frank Prentice, a steel products salesman, told his family to never give up their Kings tickets. Anne Prentice, a vascular surgeon, remembers her father taking her and brother Gary, now a high school teacher, to Kings games "back when we thought it was the greatest thing in the world."

She plans to take her mother, Lu Prentice, to the last game. And she muses about whether she'll wear "a black armband."

She is furious about owners Joe and Gavin Maloof contemplating moving the team to the Los Angeles media market, home of the Lakers, adding "insult to injury." In a recent letter to The Bee, she castigated the Maloofs "for ripping the hearts out of countless Sacramento fans."

"My dad said, 'Don't let the tickets ever leave the family,' " Prentice reflected in an interview. "I don't think he ever dreamed that they (the Kings) would leave us."
via Longtime Kings season ticket holders reflect, prepare for likely last game - Sacramento Sports - Kings, 49ers, Raiders, High School Sports | Sacramento Bee .

Here they stay. 

Consider everything that Kings fans have tried to do. They've petitioned, they've called, they've written. They're organizing a sit-in , they have campaigns and slogans and pleas and cries and outrage and desperation and nothing is going to stop what's happening because this is what the NBA has decided is in its best interest. Five to six markets with all the power. Everywhere else is just a system of rotating Washington Generals. Sure, the NBA backed moving the Sonics to OKC. But that was about arenas, about the league's ability to pressure cities into ponying up the dough. It set the precedent. "Don't want to pay for a new arena? We'll go somewhere else." But be sure, the league's priority is for its biggest markets to succeed. It won't interfere. It just won't protect the others. Meanwhile, we know even large markets can have their hearts ripped out. Kevin Durant knows, he was there. 
"But it was cool man to see that," he added, speaking of Sonics fans' passionate in-game plea to keep the team.

Durant's rookie year, his single season in Seattle, was merely a stepping stone to his present-day success.  Unfortunately for disenfranchised Sonics fans, they've had to painfully watch the now-Thunder forward tap into his potential in Oklahoma City.

"It was kind of tough on the players to go through the whole move and everything," Durant said of packing his bags after only one year in Seattle.  "But everything happens for a reason I think."

Though it's been three seasons since his last game in the Emerald City, the reigning scoring champ still misses his first NBA home.  Especially considering how dedicated he felt Seattle fans were while there.

"It was tough," said Durant of leaving the Sonics fanbase. "But we didn't know for a fact that we were leaving.  It was up in the air with us."
via Thunder Players Contrast Seattle Departure to Sacramento's Pending Fate - SB Nation Bay Area

Those Sonics fans are still around, still trying to get basketball back in their city. But how are they ever going to trust a league that turned its back so hard on them again? How are they supposed to deal with stealing someone else's team, causing someone else the same pain they went through? They will, because they don't have any choice. If there's one thing that's become apparent through the transitions of Seattle to Oklahoma City and Sacramento to Anaheim, it's this. The Fans don't have any say in the matter. They're just there. 

Here they stay. 

The real issue here is that sports do mean more than just dollars and cents. It's more than just a billionaire's play thing. It builds families, friendships, brings communities closer together, helps foster good works, drives the economy, helps the city be a better place to live. So why do we treat it with such a removed sense of inevitability? Because it's happened before? What, we've never affected change? We've never as a society decided that something wasn't in our best interest and moved to correct it? 

The NBA Board of Governors have to make the best decision for their respective businesses. But the NBA as a whole has to do what's best for its business, and that business is what is best for basketball. Abandoning a city that has shown to have incredible fan support just to move into an already overly-saturated market and attempt to siphon off the scraps of the Lakers and, heaven help us, the Clippers, is not in the best interet of basketball.

Protecting small markets, big markets, all markets that care about basketball should be in the best interest of the league. Keeping one of the best environments in the league in place should be in the best interest of the league. Working with willing cities to keep their teams in place should be in the best interests of the league. Failing fanbase after fanbase just to make sure the league gets its Lakers-Celtics payoff every few years is not in the best interest of the league. 

There are basketball fans in all parts of this country, and they are not irrelevant because of their cost of living of population. If they are, the league is failing in its duty to do what's best for basketball. Even as the team heads towards Mickey Land, the fans haven't abandoned it. Instead, they've grown closer.

Kings Anaheim relocation
The last month and a half has been one excruciating slow descent into madness, punctuated by the fact that when the season ends we won't know whether or not to say "Goodbye" or "See you next year". The question we've all been asked a million times is "What are you going to do if they leave?" I honestly don't know. Sure, I'll get on Twitter all full of piss and vinegar with claims of boycotting the NBA and the city of Sacramento, but the reality is I have no fucking clue what I'm going to do. I'm too emotionally invested in this team to give up at this point.

I've watched Cisco grow into becoming the backbone of the team. I've seen DeMarcus bitch slap the naysayers with his flashes of brilliance that point towards him fulfilling the manbeast potential we all know he has in him. I saw Geoff Petrie pluck Marcus Thornton from obscurity on the Hornets bench and gleefully ran all over the living room when he transformed into the clutch shooter we've been begging for for years. I've watched Tyreke...oh my God have I watched Tyreke just be Tyreke. The glory days Kings will always have a special place in my heart, but they were a collection of established players that came together at the right time to take the city by storm. This team? This is our team that we've carefully watched over the recent lean years, patiently waiting for them to realize their potential and return to prominence.

That's the most frustrating part about this ordeal. We're on the cusp of something great. Fair-weather fans may have abandoned this team (justifiably or not), but those with the passion/insanity to stick around know what this team is capable of even though our W/L record deceives that notion. That's not to say it would be easier to let them go if the team sucked, but the fact that they might move just as they're finally putting it all together is a swift kick in the nuts on par with even the most devastating moments in franchise history. Yet, in the face of all of this, my passion hasn't waned. Hell, it's somehow grown.
via An increasingly rambly, possibly historically inaccurate post about the Kings and how they taught me about passion - Sactown Royalty .

These are the real, flesh and blood people the NBA is abandoning. These aren't just numbers and figures. If we want to say stats aren't all that matter in basketball, as so many owners do? Guess what? They shouldn't be all that matter when we talk about the future of the National Basketball Association. At some point in there should be a discussion about these fans, this community that's shown it can break decibel barriers and sellout game after game after game. Those fans don't just disappear when you move to Anaheim to pick up the craps. They're still there, only they're not supporting your product. 

Here they stay.

Chris Webber wants to help.

Kevin Johnson has tried to help. Players, coaches, legends in this game have been clear. The very team that drives the NBA gravy train doesn't want the team to move. So why is this going through? The NBA has bailed out the Hornets. They've said they want to commit to keeping these teams in place.  But they're again standing idly by while the Kings try and escape their debts while keeping their plaything. 

Ray Ratto breaks down the immaturity of the Maloofs  in all this, and lays out how awkward it will be if the vote fails. Imagine that, a team's owners, who siphoned money from the fans in every way possible actually has to deal with the spurned, as opposed to simply running away. Funny what happens when a fanbase doesn't just give up. When it doesn't just evaporate. Those people, that kid, is still there. 

Here they stay. 

The NBA Board of Governors has an opportunity not to simply look out for their own well being, but that of the game they've become shephards of. Long after their profit margins are gone, the decisions they make will impact the lives of thousands of people. But if they have a hard time dealing wth the enormity of the crowd, of the idea of a group of people versus any other, I'd ask they remember that kid. Is it a cheap ploy? Sure. But it's a very real human being who will have more going on in his life than just basketball. But it'll still be a big part of him, as it's been his whole life.

Sacramento deserves a chance. Local leadership is willing, financial groups are trying to make it happen, the fans are doing anything they can think of or have been asked to make an impact. The NBA needs to do its part. It just takes three little words. 

Here they stay. 

Posted on: April 12, 2011 8:51 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 8:56 pm

Maloofs owe the NBA $75 million, might lack votes

Posted by Royce Young

According to KFBK in Sacramento, the Kings have taken out a line of credit worth $75 million from the NBA. The report says that Kings spokesman Mitch Germann said the team used the line of credit but wouldn't say specifically on what.

This is something I did not know about, this line of credit thing. Evidently, the NBA has $2.3 billion available to every team in its line of credit program. The report says this: "NBA Spokesman Mike Bass says 19 teams have borrowed money through the league Line of Credit program. The max any team can borrow according to Bass is $125-million." News to me. And the Kings didn't hesitate in using it.

I think most people's first thought was that the number has something to do with relocation, which is very expensive. Just to relocate, you have to pay $30 million to the league as a fee. And that's just the start of it.

Obviously the franchise is struggling financially, hence the relocation talks. The Maloofs have seen their various business ventures sag a bit during the recession and the Kings are not immune as their value has dropped (according to Forbes) by almost $100 million.

Here's something interesting mentioned in this report though -- the Kings might not have the league support needed to relocate to Anaheim:
Sources have told KFBK that an approximately 200-page document outlining the Kings move to Anaheim currently sits on NHL Ducks Owner and Honda Center operator, Henry Samueli's desk. Just last week lawyers were combing through the finer details of the deal. Honda Center officials would not confirm if Samueli had signed off on the agreement.

Those close to the negotiations say Samueli and the Maloofs are not sure they have enough support from the rest of the league's owners to approve the move. Kings officials have said all four Maloof brothers will be attending the NBA Board of Governors' meetings this week in New York City to try and convince at least 15 other teams to allow the Kings to relocate.
It's already been made clear that both Laker owner Jerry Buss and Clipper owner Donald Sterling are not really in favor of making a new bedfellow in the Los Angeles area, but they Maloofs have a lot of convincing to do to get a majority of owners on their side.

With the last NBA relocation, the Sonics moving to Oklahoma City, 28 owners voted in favor of it. The only two that didn't were Mark Cuban and Paul Allen.

Relocation is a mess. It's not easy on anyone, especially fans. The Kings are clearly losing money and want to try and find greener, as in money-making, pastures. It's hard to keep up with this thing but maybe it's a little too early to etch the move in stone.
Posted on: March 28, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: March 28, 2011 8:21 pm

Sacramento official issues letter to Anaheim

City manager for Sacramento sends a letter to his counterpart in Anaheim, discussing money that would be owed to Sacramento if the city of Anaheim does not "cease negotiating" with the Kings
Posted by Matt Moore

Enter the lawyers. 

The Sacramento Bee reports that officials for the city of Sacramento have sent a letter to officials in Anaheim ordering them to "cease negotiating with the Kings", and repeatedly brings up the $77 million the Kings owe the city of Sacramento:
Sacramento city officials have sent a letter to Anaheim telling that city to cease its negotiations with the Sacramento Kings, and asking the Anaheim City Council not to vote on issuing $75 million in bonds Tuesday or take any other actions to induce the Kings to move to Anaheim.
The letter, issued minutes ago by assistant city manager John Dangberg, says if Anaheim insists on continuing negotiations with the Kings, Sacramento "must contractually require" the Kings to pay off the estimated $77 million the team owes the city of Sacramento.
via Kings Blog and Q&A: City of Sacramento directs Anaheim to stop negotiations with Kings.


The letter has three requests for Anaheim. One, to not authorize issuance of Bonds for the renovation of the Honda Center. Two, to cease negotiations with the Kings. And if they choose to continue such discussions, to make any move dependent on the Kings repaying the $77 million to Sacramento. That of course dwarfs the money the Kings would owe in relocation fees and the $50 million loan Samueli has discussed loaning the Maloofs. 

This letter is of course the precursor to suit in the event that negotiations continue and the Kings do file for relocation. The city's latest proposal fell flat on its face, but this letter makes it apparent they have little intention of going down completely quietly. What, if any, merit this course of action will garner in court isn't known at this time, but it's definitely a scare tactic to try and get the crows away from the soon-to-be carcass of professional basketball in Sacramento. 
Posted on: March 28, 2011 3:31 pm

Lakers will lose money if Kings move to Anaheim

Posted by Royce Young

There are a lot of reasons people in Los Angeles don't want the Kings to move next door. But probably the best one? Money.

Phil Jackson already mentioned how he doesn't see how a metropolitan area could support three professional teams, but that's mainly an issue for the Kings. Because the Lakers will get their support. With Blake Griffin, so will the Clippers.

But that doesn't mean they'll lose some money. Especially the Lakers in regard to their giant new television deal. From ESPN LA:
"Although finances of the deal were not released, some reports at the time pegged the value of the pact at $3 billion, a figure Time Warner Cable and the Lakers have since refuted. If a third NBA team moves into the market, however, the Lakers' television deal will decrease by about just under 10 percent ...

The Lakers' agreement, which begins with the 2012-13 season and covers all preseason, regular-season and postseason games not nationally telecast, was viewed as a major blow for current rights holders Fox Sports West and KCAL-TV. The Kings, however, could lessen that blow and create competition for viewers and fans in Orange County if they filled the void left by the Lakers on both outlets."
Nobody likes the split a pie three ways when it only has to be done two. If the Lakers had it their way, the Clippers would be booted out of the city too, but that's not happening. So you can imagine how they feel about a third party moving in down the street.

What you're seeing here with this whole Kings relocation thing is a bunch of negatives without a whole lot of positives. I honestly haven't seen a story yet revealing all the benefits of the Kings move. Yeah the arena in Anaheim is nicer than the place formerly known as Arco, but it's still 17 years old.

Both the Lakers and Clippers are reportedly very much against the move and have even explored options to block it, but it doesn't appear they'll be able to.

Between the lack of a waiting fanbase, the competition between the Clippers and Lakers, the loyalty of Sacramento fans, the Anaheim Angles owner questioning it and now people are losing money, why move? It's a question I keep asking myself, but one that the Maloofs evidently don't care about.
Posted on: March 24, 2011 4:26 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 6:49 pm

Report: Plan to keep Kings in Sacto 'laughable'

Posted by Royce Young

Earlier, there was a story out with a reported new plan to keep the Kings home in Sacramento. There weren't any specifics, just the word that the money was "in place" to keep the team in California's capital city.

Except that report might not be right. According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports on Twitter, a source found the television report "laughable" and called the chances of the team staying "remote."

Darn. Not good.

All signs point to the Kings exiting Sacramento unless something drastic happens. The earlier report was encouraging, but with the way it sounds now, it's back to the drawing board. Money is at the heart of the issue, so if there was a way to come up with funding, it certainly would change things. But that might not be the case anymore. Which means someone else will have to step up.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com